By Jason Duran
225 teams converged on Pickwick Lake for the fourth stop for the Alabama Bass Trail North Division. Teams reported a difficult practice due to rain and storms during the week. On tournament Saturday, the weather broke and provided a great day for fishing. All teams are looking to win this event and do well in the AOY points race to make the ABT Championship. The team of Lance Whitaker and Jeremy Briscoe brought a solid bag of 21.48 pounds to win a very tough event on Pickwick Lake.
The first-place team of Lance Whitaker and Jeremy Briscoe weighed in 21.48. “The plan for us this morning was to head downriver to fish a spot we found that was about 100 yards long. We were expecting to catch about 17 pounds in this area based on our practice. However, when we started catching them, we ended up spending the whole day on this one spot. The keys in the area we found were scattered rocks on a point that were in 17-23 feet of water. We got behind the rock pile and threw up past it. To catch these fish, we used a NetBait T-Mac worm in green pumpkin on a Shakey and let the bait bounce down through there. We also used a Zman Ned rig to do some things, and we also used a Keitech Swimbait. We fished the swimbait a little higher in the water column where the bait fish were located.” Lance and Jeremy are no strangers to the winner’s stage with their most recent win coming in 2021 at Wheeler Lake in May. The team is looking forward to getting back there for the final stop of the ABT North Division. For this win, they collected a $10,000 check and automatically qualified for the ABT Championship.
The second-place team of Tony Keef and Bryan Gregory enjoy fishing the Tennessee River and have had some success in the past with a 5th place finish here three years ago- a win they were hoping to capitalize on this year. “We had a terrible practice starting on Wednesday and had to leave the lake at 10 o’clock because of all the storms.” Like many teams in this event, they “located a shad spawn down in the 7-mile island area and quickly caught a limit by 7:15 of about 15 pounds.” After the shad spawn, they made the move even further south to fish a shaded bank where they hoped the shad spawn would still be going on. When they arrived, the shad spawn was over. “We spent some time fishing for a few bed fish we had located and decided we need to get out of there, so we moved towards the Bear Creek area to fish out deep using a Swim Bait. There we caught a 4-pound and a 5-pound fish” to upgrade their limit a little more. They made one more move headed back towards take off and decided to stop and fish another area. “We doubled up and had to quickly release the smaller fish so that we could legally bring the second fish in the boat which was about a 5-pound smallmouth.” This upgraded their limit to the final weight of 20.78 pounds. Their key baits included a Booyah Spinnerbait in White and chartreuse with a gold blade. They also used a Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait. With their second place finish, they earned a $5,000 payday.
The Team of Mitch Mitchell and Candler McCollum finished in third place. Practice for us “was tough with all the storms; we only practiced a little last weekend and in the rain all day on Friday. We found a little shad spawn and got lucky today that it still was there.” They located this spot down in the Trace bridge area. They quickly went to work and “caught one first cast to put together a limit in ten minutes. By 7:30 we had around 19-pounds.” The key baits to fish the shad spawn were a Zoom swimmer and a Zara Spook. Once they filled the limit, they knew they needed to find a bigger bite to help move them up the leader board. “We knew we needed the bigger bite and running shallow stuff would not help us, so we moved out deeper and ran all over the lake searching for them. We bounced around checking different areas and moved down the lake towards Tennessee. This area has deeper ledges with a less grass and more shell beds that the fish tend to like. When we moved out deeper, we culled a couple of 3-pound fish by catching a 4-pound and a 4.30-pound fish” for a final weight of 20.79. “We gave it our best and came up short which is a little disappointing today because we really wanted to win this one.” Their third place finish was worth $4,000.
With one more event left in the North Division the points race is very tight and all eyes will be watching on the next event at Wheeler Lake.
TOP 10 AOY Points Standings after 4 events:
PLACE ANGLERS POINTS
1 John Kellett/Zeke Gossett 804
2 Roman Calvert/Shannon Calvert 803
3 Damien Willis/Tyler Kiker 801
4 Michael Wooley/Joe Wooley 796
5 Wesley Sams/Jordan Wiggins 790
6 Justin Bussey/Ben Webb 780
7 Shane Meers/James Meers 770
8 Bryan Johnson/Brandon Groce 766
9 Greg Tomlin/Jeremy Tomlin 760
10 Mark Mccaig/Tim Hurst 757
The top five standings are below for a complete list of standings please visit:
Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.” The Podcast is released each week on Tuesday.
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The sponsors of the 2023 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports, Alabama Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, American Trailer Rental Group, BAJIO, Big Bite Baits, Bill Penney Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports Apparel, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Garmin, Jack’s, Lew’s, Mtn Dew, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Power-Pole, Strike King, Sweet Home Alabama, T-H Marine, Yamaha, YETI Coolers.